[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 199 (Friday, October 14, 2011)]
[Pages 63944-63945]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-26593]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R3-ES-2011-N202; 30120-1112-0000-F6]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take 
Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and 
Associated Documents; Duke Energy Corp., Gibson County, IN

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, invite the public to 
comment on the following application to conduct certain activities with 
endangered species. With some exceptions, the Endangered Species Act 
(Act) prohibits activities with endangered and threatened species 
unless a Federal permit allows such activity. The Act requires that we 
invite public comment before issuing these permits.

DATES: We must receive any written comments on or before November 14, 

ADDRESSES: Send written comments by U.S. Mail to the Regional Director, 
Attn: Lisa Mandell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological 
Services, 5600 American Blvd., West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437-
1458; or by electronic mail to permitsR3ES@fws.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lisa Mandell, (612) 713-5343.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We invite public comment on the following 
permit application for certain activities with endangered species 
authorized by section 10(a)(2)(A) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) 
and our regulations governing the taking of endangered species in the 
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 17. Submit your written 
data, comments, or request for a copy of the complete application and 
Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to the address shown in ADDRESSES.


    In 1986, a single pair of endangered Interior least terns (Sterna 
antillarum) nested at Cinergy Corporation's (Cinergy) Gibson Generating 
Station in Gibson County, Indiana. Since that time, the least tern 
colony at the facility has grown. During the 1990s, Cinergy worked 
cooperatively with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) 
and the Service to maintain favorable conditions for successful tern 
production at the Gibson Generating Station. Between 1986 and 1999, the 
most terns recorded in a single year (1998) included an estimated 85 
adult terns, 63 nests, and 72 fledged young.
    In the late 1990s, Cinergy worked cooperatively with the IDNR and 
the Service to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) regarding 
continued operation of the facility, and, in late 1999, the Service 
issued an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) to Cinergy. In 2005, the ITP was 
renewed. Management of the facility under the HCP has promoted the 
continued growth of the tern colony. In 2010, an estimated 150 adults, 
110 nests, and 165 fledged young were recorded. In addition to the 
growth in numbers, the tern colony has expanded to areas beyond the 
original location along a splitter dike adjacent to a cooling pond. 
Nesting has now been documented on the splitter dike, adjacent to ash 
ponds, a coal combustion waste landfill, construction areas and station 
access roads. The expansion of the tern nesting area presents 
management challenges for the generating station and associated 

Current Proposal

    Duke Power Company purchased and merged with Cinergy Corp. to form 
Duke Energy Corporation (Duke) in 2006. Duke has continued to operate 
the facility in accordance with the HCP and the ITP. Duke has applied 
to the Service for renewal of its ITP number TE016724. An updated HCP 
accompanies this renewal application. The HCP describes management 
activities in and around the Gibson Generating Station, including water 
management, predator control, and minimization of human disturbance due 
to recreational use.
    Proactive management over the past 25 years has resulted in an 
increase in the Interior least tern population nesting at Gibson 
Generating Station and surrounding areas. However, no incidental take 
of least terns has occurred during that time. Actions that may result 
in take include human disturbance during management and operations, 
including foot traffic,

[[Page 63945]]

vehicle or construction equipment, ash placement, waste disposal, and 
harassment due to the presence of people and equipment.
    Duke proposes to continue to manage its property to protect least 
terns. In addition, Duke has committed to monitor the result of its 
activities and the effect on the population of least terns at Gibson 
Generating Station and the surrounding state and Federal lands.

Environmental Review

    In compliance with National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) (42 
U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Service has made an initial determination 
that the HCP meets the criteria for a Low Effect HCP and categorical 
exclusion under NEPA. As such, activities in this HCP and Permit are 
categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental 
assessment or environmental impact statement (516 DM 6 Appendix 1, 
1.4C(1)). The NEPA determination is available for review by all 
interested parties.

Public Comments

    We seek public review and comments on this permit application. 
Please refer to permit number TE016724 when you submit comments. The 
Habitat Conservation Plan, Incidental Take Permit renewal application, 
and NEPA determination are available for public inspection on the 
Midwest Region website at: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/permits/hcp/r3hcps.html. In addition, the documents are available for 
public inspection by appointment during normal business hours (8 a.m.-
4:30 p.m.) at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Midwest Regional 
Office, 5600 American Blvd., West, 10th Floor, Bloomington, MN 55437-
1458, (612/713-5350) and at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Ecological Services Field Office, 620 South Walker Street, Bloomington, 
IN 47403 (812/334-4261).
    Comments and materials we receive are available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the address 
shown in the ADDRESSES section. Before including your address, phone 
number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in 
your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment--including 
your personal identifying information--may be made publicly available 
at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your 
personal identifying information from public review, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Dated: September 28, 2011.
Lynn Lewis,
Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Region 3.
[FR Doc. 2011-26593 Filed 10-13-11; 8:45 am]